Return of the Hugh Lane Pictures from National Gallery London

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Priceless Superstars of the Art World return to Dublin

Four priceless superstars of the art world will return to the Dublin City Gallery The Hugh Lane from the National Gallery London on Thursday 23rd May to huge anticipation.

Part of the famous Hugh Lane Collection is a group of eight paintings by renowned French Impressionist painters. This group is shared in a unique agreement with the National Gallery London (see history of agreement below). These eight paintings are divided into two groups, with four paintings on display in Dublin for six years at a time.

The four paintings returning to Dublin tomorrow are:

  • Les Parapluies or The Umbrellas by Auguste Renoir
  • Portrait of Eva Gonzales by Edouard Manet
  • Jour d'Ete or Summer's Day by Berthe Morisot
  • View of Louveciennes by Camille Pissarro

“It would be a privilege for any gallery to exhibit these pioneering works of art, but it is especially significant that these works are returning to Dublin, to the collection to which Hugh Lane originally intended them to belong.  Dublin City Gallery The Hugh Lane, a vibrant showcase for the visual arts and a treasure trove of modern and contemporary art, welcomes back this wonderful collection” said the Lord Mayor Naoise Ó Muirí

“This is an exciting homecoming for these much loved masterpieces which are part of the cultural history of modern Ireland. These superb works will be on exhibition for the enjoyment of all Dubliners and visitors to the city. “” said Barbara Dawson, Director of the Dublin City Gallery The Hugh Lane.

The masterpieces will be on view to the public from Friday, 24th May. There will be a free public lecture on Renoir’s Les Parapluies by Dr. Margarita Cappock, Head of Collections at the Gallery on Sunday, 26th May at 3.00pm.

Images available at:

For further information contact:

Dublin City Council Media Relations Office T. (01) 222 2170, M. 087 740 0277

Barbara Dawson, Director, Dublin City Gallery The Hugh Lane  (T) 01 2225554

Dr. Margarita Cappock, Head of Collections, Dublin City Gallery The Hugh Lane (T) 2225557

Details of the Paintings

The much loved and world renowned Les Parapluies ( or The Umbrellas ) by Auguste Renoir returns to delight Dublin audiences. Renoir who lived in the heart of Paris depicts a rainy day on a crowded Parisienne street where brightly coloured umbrellas are hoisted against the inclement weather. Renoir paints a vivid and colourful picture of urban life which is all the more fascinating due to the underlying tension between the humble but beautiful flower girl and  the admiring seductive glance of the wealthy man to the left of the painting.

The Portrait of Eva Gonzales by Edouard Manet aroused great excitement when Hugh Lane purchased it for 100,000 francs in 1904. Gonzales became a pupil of Manet's in 1869 and he painted this portrait of her in 1870. A successful artist during her brief lifetime, ( she died in childbirth aged 36) one of her paintings. Children Playing in the Sand Dunes is in the National Gallery of Ireland. George Moore, a great fan of this painting,in one of his lectures in support of Hugh Lane and a gallery of modern art for Ireland, exhorted his audience to no longer  look upon the withered thighs of martyred saints, but rather on the beauty of female form and the raised arm of Mme. Gonzales and William Orpen included Eva Gonzales in the background of his famous painting 'Homage to Manet.

The magnificent Jour d'Ete or Summer's Day by  Berthe Morisot shows a sunny day in the Bois de Boulange on the outskirts of Paris, where two women  in the rowing boat on the pond captures the leisured pursuits of Paris society at the turn of the century.

Camille Pissarro's View of Louveciennes captures the French countryside in Springtime.

History of the Agreement

Hugh Percy Lane was born in County Cork, Ireland on 9 November 1875. He was brought up in Cornwall, England, and began his career as an apprentice painting restorer and later became a successful art dealer in London.

Through regular visits to Coole (near Gort), County Galway, the home of his aunt, Lady Gregory, Lane remained in contact with Ireland. He soon counted among his family, friends and social circle those who collectively formed the core of the Irish cultural renaissance in the early decades of the 20th century.

Extolling the cause of Irish art abroad, Lane also became one of the foremost collectors and dealers of Impressionist paintings in Europe, and amongst those outstanding works purchased by him for the new gallery were La Musique aux Tuileries by Manet, Sur la Plage by Degas, Les Parapluies by Renoir and La Cheminée by Vuillard.

The Municipal Gallery of Modern Art opened in January 1908 in temporary premises in Harcourt Street, Dublin. Lane hoped that Dublin Corporation would run it, but the Corporation was unsure if it would be financially viable.

For his "services to art" in Ireland, Lane was knighted in June 1909 at the comparatively young age of 33.

Lane did not live to see his gallery permanently located as he died in 1915 during the sinking of the RMS Lusitania, off the west coast of Cork, the county of his birth.

Following his death, his will bequeathed his collection to London, but an un witnessed  codicil which he wrote before his death in 1915 bequeathed it to Dublin. However the codicil was not witnessed and his wishes were not honoured despite huge lobbying by Irish and British sympathisers

At the request of Lane's aunt, Lady Gregory, WT Cosgrave, leader of the Irish Government unsuccessfully approached Ramsay MacDonald on the matter in 1929. When John A. Costello became Taoiseach in 1948, he initiated further negotiations with Harold Macmillan, the British Prime Minister. This eventually led to a compromise in 1959, under Taoiseach Sean Lemass, whereby half of the Lane Bequest would be lent and shown in Dublin every five years.

In 1993 the agreement was varied so that 31 of the 39 paintings would stay in Ireland. The remaining 8 were divided into 2 groups, so that 4 would be lent for 6 years at a time to Dublin. These 8 include works by Manet, Monet, Pissarro, Renoir, Morisot, Vuillard and Degas. In 2008, in celebration of its first centenary, the Hugh Lane negotiated  with the National Gallery London for the return of the entire Bequest for a period of three months, the first time they were reunited with the rest of Hugh Lane’s collection since 1913.

The Gallery, is now situated in Parnell Square in central Dublin. A new wing was opened in 2006.